Thursday, May 19, 2016

Egypt Air Flight 804

I have some, though not all answers to this event. First, I am a pilot with many hours. Not an airline pilot, but aerodynamics are the same with a Piper Cub and a Boeing 747. Just the applications differ.

At 38,000 ft, where the air is very thin, it's  unstable. The higher the plane flies, the faster it must go to avoid stalling. A severe 90 degree roll to the left would immediately stall the aircraft, which probably caused a snap roll, which is to the opposite direction. That would have resulted either in a spin, or what is called a tight spiral, neither of which would be recoverable in a high performance aircraft.

There are absolutely no jet pilots that practice snap rolls.I have. One scenario, is an electrical short in the rudder control electronics. Remember, these aircraft are fly by wire, which means they use electronics rather than cable and pulleys to control the rudders and ailerons. Or in modern planes, ruddervators and flaperons. If the rudder votes hard left, the aircraft is immediately out of control, resulting in a stall and most likely a fatal spin.

The news programs are pretty much talking about terrorism with very little discussion on flight control malfunction. If, and this is purely speculation, the auto pilot had a glitch causing the rudder to slam to the left, it would have resulted in my scenario seen above.

This doesn't eliminate the terrorist theory of course, but it offers a credible alternative.

The news media, as usual, has jumped too far, too fast at the terrorist theory.

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